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Mechanisms and Ingenious Mechanical Devices


Vermont one-room schoolhouse, skipping grades
John Wheeler Scientist
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This one room school in Vermont, all the grades were together, and single teacher for those twenty-five or thirty students of assorted grades. And as the teacher was hearing a recitation from the students of, for example, the seventh grade, this boy could listen, and the same with other grades. So in the course of time, one could pick up a lot that way. And I- that's the only way I could account for being able to skip as many grades as I did in Vermont. But, of course, every day I had to get in the cows and feed the pigs, and that was a good routine. It was more on your own initiative than having the teacher say John, I want you to move fast. Yes, right. It was a- that poor woman, I wish I knew more about what kind of a life she had then and afterward.

John Wheeler, one of the world's most influential physicists, is best known for coining the term 'black holes', for his seminal contributions to the theories of quantum gravity and nuclear fission, as well as for his mind-stretching theories and writings on time, space and gravity.

Listeners: Ken Ford

Ken Ford took his Ph.D. at Princeton in 1953 and worked with Wheeler on a number of research projects, including research for the Hydrogen bomb. He was Professor of Physics at the University of California and Director of the American Institute of Physicists. He collaborated with John Wheeler in the writing of Wheeler's autobiography, 'Geons, Black Holes and Quantum Foam: A Life in Physics' (1998).

Duration: 1 minute, 13 seconds

Date story recorded: December 1996

Date story went live: 24 January 2008